Posted by: billpurdue | November 11, 2010

Library spending cuts

I’m going to begin with a little moan. Now I know that the other week I was going on about my dislike of self service issuing systems, which are now being introduced in large libraries in the Chad area. This time it’s all about library funding.

As a former librarian, I feel I must express an opinion (and I stress that this is just my opinion) about the quite draconian cuts that have been proposed for the public libraries in Nottinghamshire. Not only will there be a 75% cut in the book fund, but library opening hours will also be cut. The small libraries would only be open for a maximum of ten hours each week.

A cut in the book fund of that size without any other reduction would be a devastating blow to our local libraries. Most of the new books that are bought are likely to go to the largest libraries and those users of the smaller branches will have to place more requests if they want to see recent titles. The stock at all the libraries will have an increasing average age and the total stocks are likely to be reduced as books are discarded through wear and tear.

A combination of reduction in opening hours and less new books is likely to make libraries less and less relevant to the general public. It will generate a sort of Catch 22 situation for libraries; the less books and opening hours, the less people will use them and the less they are used, the more vulnerable they are to further reductions and closure.  The local public library in many communities is the only visible presence of the County Council in the area: what is the point of keeping it closed and unused for most of the week?

Shorter opening hours will hit so many groups – children who want information for their homework, elderly and disabled people who rely on a good read for much of their entertainment and enjoy visiting their local library, not to mention the basic raison d’etre of libraries, bringing literature and educational material to a wider audience. So what will the general public do if they want to read? Those that can afford it will abandon libraries completely and buy the books they want, whilst those that can’t will suffer most.

Perhaps there is still chance for second thoughts about the proposals – we can only hope so.

The Bookseller

The Bookseller” is the magazine for all in the bookselling trade as well as librarians: I used to enjoy leafing through the weekly magazine to keep up to date with what’s new in fiction and non-fic. Unfortunately the price of each issue (£4.40) and the yearly subscription (over £150) is too much for my pocket, so I was quite glad to be able to get my hands on a few recent issues this week. I found one or two interesting tidbits of information, such as…

Usborne Books, the profusely illustrated (mainly) non-fiction books for children are now published in 100 different languages.

The Kindle e-reader was the fastest selling product on Amazon.co.uk during the three months July to September this year.

The winners of the 8 categories in the Galaxy National Book Awards were announced yesterday and the ceremony can be seen on More4 on Saturday 13th Nov. If you do want to know the winners now, click here!

Next time: a new novel by a former Ollerton resident

 

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